In September, Transitions Life Care received its sixth Operation Round Up grant, written expressly for its Transition Kids program.
This program is one-of-a-kind in its ability to give children and their families support during a difficult time.
Generous gifts from South River EMC have supported our indigent patient fund, whereby, we are able to provide services to those who were not able to pay.
"The Triangle region is home to three children's hospitals, meaning there is a large number of seriously ill children in the area, some who ultimately die," said Lily Gillmor, director of Transitions Kids. "As you can imagine, even more than with adults, children and their families often prefer to die at home in familiar surroundings."
However, while much of end-of-life care is covered for adults, the same is not true for children.
"Pediatric hospice care is regulated by the same policies as adults. These regulations were created based on adult diagnosis and illness trajectory," said Gillmor. "Pediatric patients have very little overlap with adults in regards to diagnosis, trajectories, or general needs."
Hospice care is paid at a flat rate per day by insuance companies, which covers a patient's related medication, supplies, equipment and vists. The medication, supplies and equipment are more expensively priced for children and children also typically require longer and more frequent visits.
This amounts to a large bill with very little funding to cover it.
"This grant will be used to supply pediatric patients with things they are unable to attain through their current insurance structure or on their own. Many items, such as diapers, are rationed by insurance companies and families are left having to purchase anything outside the alloted amount," said Gillmor. "This can cause a strain on family finances, leaving families to make difficult decisions about other areas they must cut back on to afford such items."
These are items that a family with a sick child should never have to worry about, which is why Transitions Kids is such a beneficial non-profit organization.
"The creation of Transitions Kids was a multi-year project. Our CEO, John Thoma, created a feasibility study to determine the need and cost of a pediatric program," she said. "The study concluded that there was a significant need, but at a significant cost. Funding was secured by a generous local family to get the program up and running."
Currently, the program has a part-time physician, four full-time nurses, three full-time social workers, two full-time chaplins, a part-time chaplin, and a number of PRN nurses, or as-needed nurses.
"Generous gifts from South River EMC have supported our indigent patient fund, whereby, we are able to provide services to those who were not able to pay," said Darcy Dye Bowers, senior communications and public relations manager. "In Transitions Life Care's 40-plus-year history, we've never turned anyone away who is financially challenged."
Transitions serves 7,541 families and individuals in the following counties: Harnett, Johnston, Wake, Granville, Franklin, Durham, Chatham and Orange.
"In addition to Transitions Kids, our other services include Transitions Hospice Care, Transitions Pallative Care and Transitions Home Health," said Bowers. "We also offer Transitions Guiding Lights (caregiver support and resources) and Transitions Grief Care bereavement resources, including educational and support groups, individual counseling, and specialty groups for distinct types of loss."
And programs have not stopped due to COVID-19, it has just meant a change in practices by the organization, with investment for technology to telework and provide telehealth appointments, providing grief groups virtually, as well as dedicating staff to procuring personal protective equipment.
Transitions is looking out for its patients and the communities it serves, particularly during these times.